Possible justice in Jim Swarzman hit-and-run, Zeke’s brother Dave blasts Universal

It looks like justice may be coming for Jim Swarzman after all.

Joseph Ricardo Fernandez of Carlsbad has been rearrested and is being held on $100,000 bond pending arraignment on Wednesday. Fernandez was arrested after turning himself in the day after Swarzman was killed in a violent hit-from-behind collision, telling police investigators he thought he might have hit something.

However, he was released from custody just moments before the planned arraignment on April 14th, as prosecutors declined to file charges at that time.

It will be interesting to see just what charges are filed.

Problem is, no matter how severe the penalty ends up being, it can’t undo the past and bring a well-loved man back.


On a similar subject, cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels reports that the defense has rested in the murder trial of Marco Antonio Valencia for the drunken hit-and-run death of Joseph Novotny, and jury deliberations will start tomorrow.

The question doesn’t seem to be if Valencia will do time for the hit-and-run, but whether he will be convicted of the murder charge, with its possible life sentence. Wheels has noted previously that even if he is acquitted of murder, Valencia still faces up to 20 years in prison.

Yet no amount of jail time will bring Novotny back, either.


Bob Mionske says there has to be some middle ground between felony manslaughter and failure to yield, serious prison time or a slap on the wrist. As usual, he gets it right; definitely worth reading for anyone interested in genuine justice on our streets.


Maybe you’ll recall that I’ve complained more than once about Universal Studios’s refusal to allow an extension of the L.A. River Bike Path or revitalization of the river through their North Hollywood property.

And that as far as I’m concerned, any plans for expansion should be dead in the water until their attitude changes. Including the silly explanation that they fear failing screenwriters will throw their scripts over the fence if they’re allowed to get that close.

Like they couldn’t just buy a ticket for the studio tour.

So I found it very amusing — and dead on the money — when Dave Yount, brother of North Carolina bike scribe Zeke, sent me the following email:

Hey Ted,

I just stumbled across these drawings for plans for the huge expansion at Universal Studios.  I knew they were trying to block any extension of the LA River path through the studio lot, but I didn’t realize they had offered an alternative bike path through the property.  Check out the drawings here:


Are you familiar with Universal City Walk?  They have the bike path going up the hill from Lankershim, conveniently buy (pun intended) City Walk, back north across some new road and back down to Barham.  First of all, nobody is going to (and most can’t) ride a bike up that hill.  Secondly, you have to go through all the traffic at City Walk to get to this new road they are building.  Finally, if you are trying to get to the Cahuenga Pass, you then get to climb up Barham after having just pushed your bike up the hill to City Walk.

The nerve of some planning (PR) a$$holes never ceases to amaze me.

Bro Dave

Thanks to Dave for permission to share this. And say hi to Zeke.


A teenage mountain biker is airlifted to safety after falling off a 50 foot embankment in the Claremont area. Metro will consider removing — or perhaps just studying — the rush hour bike ban on their trains, as well as an Active Transportation Agenda, at Thursday’s board meeting; LACBC says your help is needed. The next BPIT meeting is coming up next week, while the city prepares a package of projects for environmental review; Bikeside accuses L.A. Planning and LADOT of hijacking the process. Raise funds for LACBC while you River Ride and you could win big. Streetsblog offers a handful of opportunities to raise funds and have fun. Thirteen SoCal bike coops gather to trade notes last weekend. Glendale announces plans for next month’s Bike Month. The new Bike Newport is sponsoring a low-stress family fun ride for Sunday, May 15th.

Going carless can put the equivalent of a $4 an hour raise in your pocket, while higher gas prices mean fewer wrecks.  Bicycling asks what’s the best bike for bicycle commuting; how about the one you have? Lovely Bicycle asks if it’s really productive to criticize other cyclists. A reluctant bike commuter takes to the streets of Seattle. Albuquerque opens limited access highways to bikes. Take a baseball bat to a high-end bike, and get two years probation — even if your version of events is termed a fantasy. New York police insist on forcing cyclists to ride in the bike lane, even if it kills them — the cyclists, that is. The Wall Street Journal stops the presses for a little positive news about a New York cyclist.

Great Britain risks fielding a reduced bike team at this year’s Worlds and the 2012 Olympics. After a rough spring spent rehabbing a knee injuring, bike prodigy Taylor Phinney shows why the expectations are so high by finishing 2nd in the time trial prologue for this week’s Tour of Romandie; Jonathan Castroviejo takes 1st. Kate Middleton works for a Boston bike shop.

Finally, even Moscow — the one in Russia, not Idaho — promises to become bike friendly, although 2000 bike parking spaces and 45 kilometers of bikeways doesn’t sound like much in a city of 11 million.


  1. TQ says:

    Joseph Ricardo Fernandez is charged with of violating CVC 20001(b)(2), felony hit and run involving death or injury. His arraignment is scheduled for 8am this morning in San Diego County’s North Division Court. He has not yet posted bail, currently set at $100,000.

    As a felony, this charge carries a maximum of four years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.

    • bikinginla says:

      Thanks TQ. None of the stories I found listed the charge, so I appreciate your help.

      • So no DUI charge. And only the cheap felony hit and run charge. The laws in this state need to change greatly. Since when is killing someone because you can’t properly operate a vehicle that you have attested to drive obeying the laws of the road worth only 4 years? I know it won’t bring him back, but when the maximum this *#&^@( can serve is only 4 years, the punishment is hardly a deterrent.

        I hope for justice for Jim and his family.

  2. Ron says:

    I want to thank the San Diego County DA’s office and the Sherrif’s Department for keeping this case a top priority. You are right, it will not bring Jim back, but alteast they are doing all they can within the boundaries of the law. I also want to thank Biking in LA for staying on top of this case. There will be a fund set up in the near future as well as annual ride in Jim’s name to help increse Biking safety and to increase drivers awareness of their responsibilities to stay alert and aware of the fact that they are sharing the road with cyclist. That it only takes one distracted minute to change many lives forever. We would greatly appreciate your help in this effort and will notify you on the details shortly. May you all be safe riders and drivers. Ron Swarzman ( Jim’s Brother)

    • bikinginla says:

      No, thank you, Ron. Your family has shown amazing courage and class in the aftermath of Jim’s death in calling for bike safety donations to the LACBC in his name.

      I will be more than happy to help in any way I can, and promise to stay on top of this case as it moves through the courts. One of my primary focuses here has long been defensive driving/riding, and the need to remind drivers that the cars and trucks we take for granted are dangerous machines, easily capable of killing another human being.

      If you, or any other member of the family, would like to write something for this blog, whether it’s a remembrance of Jim, how his loss has affected you or a discussion of bike safety, I will be more than happy to turn my blog over to you for a day to publish anything you want to send me.

  3. Re: hills around Universal Studios…I know I’m a freak, but I bike them all the time. I wonder, however, in other more hilly states, if they put bike paths on hilly roads, especially when they have no choice, and how that affects ridership of those paths. Maybe we could say “okay” to Universal’s plan on the condition that they install bike lifts on those hills?

    Come on! Then there would actually be bike lifts in Los Angeles! Long Beach doesn’t have anything on that!

    • bikinginla says:

      Hmmm… maybe the world’s first bike escalator?

      • No they have them in Europe. It’s a little pedal you put your foot on and it pushes you up the hill. It’s called a bike lift. It’s a little pedal on a track notched in the street. You put your foot on it and it pushes you up the hill! If Universal agrees to put those in, I say have at it!

    • Louie says:

      I don’t know. Then you’ll have a lot “downhiller” tools riding up and bombing down the street pretending they’re in the X-Games or something.

      • Why would that be bad?

        • Louie says:

          Picture it: A bunch of teenage boys hopped up on Monster Energy Drink screaming down the hill at 25+ MPH trying to catch air and inevitably crashing into someone.

          Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the idea of a lift but it will just give those wanna-be extreme athletes a reason to go agro.

          • They have lots of security up at City Walk, I’m sure they can handle anyone who goes agro.

            • Louie says:

              Really? The last time I was at City Walk was to watch The Lion King (yes, THAT long ago) and security was non-existent.

              That being the case, then heck yeah put in a lift! I’ve always thought it was ironic to DRIVE to a place called City Walk.

  4. […] In LA has more stories on crime and punishment and bicycles, while Peter writes that cyclists need a “Black Like Me” […]

  5. J. D. Northspur says:

    I hear Joe Fernandez bought a $65,000 pickup and owns a Food Business in Mendocino County

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